Trump And The "No True Conservative" Fallacy
February 19, 2016, 02:14 PM
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Welcome to another edition for VDARE Radio. I’m your host Virginia Dare and I’ve got some bad news for you – apparently, if you’re supporting Donald Trump, you’re no longer a conservative.

Now, for some of you out there, you may not care. You may be a progressive supporting Trump or a libertarian. You may be a nationalist, and a huge number of people, inspired by Trump’s candidacy, are now openly calling themselves nationalists. But I’m sure a number of you still call yourselves conservatives.

But what is conservatism? For all the talk about “true conservatism,” few of those involved seem to be precisely defining what it is. You might be familiar with the “No True Scotsman” fallacy, where someone simply declares someone doesn’t belong to a category based on entirely subjective criteria. That’s what’s happening on the American Right today.

The most influential intellectual when it comes to defining conservatism in the American tradition is Russell Kirk. He famously said conservatism was the negation of ideology. It was more of a temperament and an approach than a list of policy choices. You weren’t defending abstractions, you were defending institutions and cultural norms that existed in the real world.

Today, it seems like conservatism is not just an ideology, but an incredibly restrictive one. Now, we are told it is about limited government, a strong national defense, and traditional values. Trump, it is said, does not share these beliefs.

It’s hard to see why not. Trump has spoken quite a bit about protecting the Second Amendment. He has declared he is pro-life. He constantly talks about building a strong military that no one will mess with, unquote. And God knows he’s a capitalist.

So then we move to other charges. Trump is not a conservative, it is said, because he supports eminent domain and ethanol subsidies.

Let’s take ethanol first. By the standard, the vast majority of Republicans who have campaigned in Iowa weren’t conservatives because of their stance on this one issue. You may think it’s a good thing Ted Cruz opposed it. But Ted Cruz also supports subsidies for oil companies, probably because oil companies are an interest that is more important to him as a Senator from  Texas than are corn supplies. Is Ted Cruz not a quote, real conservative?

What about eminent domain? Well, eminent domain is specifically spelled out in the Constitution. And Ted Cruz, along with everyone else, acknowledges the government has a right to take property as long as it compensates the owners. Jeb Bush, among others, has criticized Trump for supposedly using eminent domain to pursue private businesses.

But the Bush family used eminent domain to build a baseball stadium. Ted Cruz supports the Keystone Pipeline, a project that will require eminent domain to build and will benefit private interests. There’s also a video going around where he talks about the legitimacy of eminent domain when it comes to building a fence on the border.

(As an aside, remember Trump wants a wall, not a fence).

The truth is, the reasoning is getting so weird and complicated it’s hard to take seriously. National Review actually has complained that Donald Trump doesn’t say the word “freedom” enough. Is this what passes for intellectual conservatism, saying a person’s commitment is judged by how often they can repeat certain clichés?

I suppose so. The American Conservative Union just announced the closing speaker at CPAC will be Glenn Beck. No word if he’ll be handing out free soccer balls like he and Ted Cruz did for illegal aliens.

The truth is what is so often defined as conservatism, at least by those in the Beltway, is simply a collection of buzzwords designed to sell an agenda that benefits those in power. It means trade deals that send American jobs overseas. It means illegal immigration at home and cheap labor. It means giving away American sovereignty for the benefit of international financiers.

Not surprisingly, a lot of Trump supporters are eager to dismiss the term “conservative” entirely. But I’m not so sure. The term conservative has an honorable history. And I don’t think we should give it up.

Because the truth is, we are conservatives. We are trying to conserve the existence of the country itself. We are trying to preserve our culture, our way of life, our sovereignty, and the existence of our people. I can’t think of anything more conservative than that. And again, looking about to how conservatism was really supposed to be defined, protecting an organic society is the end goal of conservatism, not filling out some stupid checklist of policies sent out by corporate lobbyists like the Club for Growth. ‘

Donald Trump does get conservatism. He gets it better than Glenn Beck, or the writers at National Review or the Weekly Standard. He certainly gets it better than the nihilists at places like the Club for Growth. Because as Trump says, either we have a country or we don’t. We have to protect that country, ensure it continues to exist, before we can do anything else.

The so-called conservative movement failed to preserve the existence of the country itself. We’re witnessing the death of Western Civilization in Europe, as the conservatives there fail even more horrifically than they have here. Defending the West – that’s what real conservatism is in the 21st century.

So we say to Ben Shapiro and Glenn Beck, to National Review and the Weekly Standard, it’s not Donald Trump who betrayed conservatism. It’s you. You betrayed America, you betrayed the West, and if you don’t reverse course and get on board now, there’s not going to be a country or a culture left to defend.

Thanks for listening and we’ll speak again soon.